To understand the magic of Lady Niguma Yoga, we must first have some idea of the subtle body. In Tibet and India, yogis have contemplated and written about the subtle body in length for thousands of years, which provides us with an extensive library today, if we are seeking to know.
Even if you have never considered yourself more than flesh, bone, blood, and endocrine, most of us practicing yoga asana have to admit that there is something happening on the mat that seems to truly transcend what we can see with the human eye.
Leza Lowitz broke it down for us yesterday by breaking out three power cords she is traveling with from her bag. The thickest cord Leza placed at her third eye (the place between our two brows) and wrapped up toward the crown of her head moving down her spine and finishing at the bottom of her tailbone. “This,” Leza explained, “is the central channel.” It is called the Sushumna in Sanskrit and in Tibet its named is Uma (think Thurman and her Buddhist scholar father Bob). It is in this place that we hope to gather all of our prana so that we might sustain that feeling of needing nothing, the bliss that comes from a rock star morning at the yoga studio.
If our central channel was the end of it, we’d have no need for yoga. But the fact is there are 72,000 channels (nadis) running through the body locking up our vital force. Two of them are the side channels, the Pingala and the Ida (sun and moon) wrapping up along side the Sushumna and twisting around it, blocking off energy from flowing freely. Leza ran the two thinner cords along side her Central Nadi, starting at each of her nostrils and twisting at seven points along the main line. These channels are responsible for our feelings of repulsion and craving. They create the judgements we make (in nano seconds) deciding if we are drawn to, or away from an object. They are chains tethering us to our ignorant view of the world we think we see coming at us.
Ok, still with me? So getting the prana to flow into the central channel is our goal. But how do we do this?
The Lady Niguma Yoga series has deep roots and profound effects. It’s based on simple principles employed to take energy up the chakra line from Mula Bandha to the crown. At each of the seven chakras (or choke points where the side channels cross and close off the central line) the postures are meant to literally; twist, stretch, gather and finally dissolve this energy upward, opening to realizations and releases along each of the seven places of convergence.
Leza led us through the entire series, working in some vinyasa flow and weaving throughout the names and emotions of the chakras, the vibrations used to further unlock them, and the story of Lady Niguma.
She was the very first female to create a yoga, and she taught it, among other very beautiful teachings, to her student and partner Naropa, a Brahman king.
I found the entire class a moving teaching. I felt encouraged to be deep within my body and meet whatever came up with new tools of wonder and expansion. When my partner and I walked together after
class to get our usual morning latte, I refrained. I felt the bliss of needing nothing. I wanted to hold onto the peace and be in it for just as long as I possibly could.